Brian Wilson, Minister of State for Industry and Energy, yesterday announced new plans to harness the power of the ocean for electricity generation as part of the government’s drive to reduce the effects of climate change.
While visiting the island of Islay he committed à‚£1.67m ($2.4m) towards the development of a new wave power device to generate electricity from the vast untapped natural energy found in the waves of the world’s oceans. The total project cost is estimated to be around à‚£2.7m. Once operational the new technology will supply enough electricity to power 1400 homes.
“Wave power has a huge part to play in our drive for renewable power”, said Wilson in a statement. “Our oceans are a major potential energy source and can lead to a new industry for the UK in which I am determined that we should be world leaders”, he said.
Wavegen, the company behind the development of the new clean energy technology, has already successfully developed the first grid connected shoreline wave energy converter – Limpet. Limpet is a second-generation wave energy converter located on the Scottish island of Islay.
Wavegen is now looking forward to exploit the much larger resource available offshore with a demonstration of their new device being launched next summer.
The country’s first commercial wave generator, Osprey (Ocean Swell Powered Renewable Energy) was destroyed by a summer storm in 1995.
Wave power will be able to contribute to the Government’s target of producing 10 per cent of power from renewables by 2010. The government says it wants to create a à‚£1bn market for renewable energy by 2010. Direct investment of over à‚£250m over the next three years will contribute towards this.